As cold weather struck North America this winter, drivers of electric vehicles found it was taking about 20 minutes longer to charge their cars and it had to be done more often.
“The batteries don’t take that charge in the cold weather. If you’re in 70 degrees, southern California all the time, hey, no problem. But when you get into the real world or even further north, where it’s cold, you’re going to end up reducing your range drastically,” Stephen Deschenes of Schweitzer’s Automotive in Eugene, Oregon, told KEZI 9 News, the local ABC TV station.
As sales of electric vehicles – or EVs – take off, keeping the battery at a constant temperature is more than just a question of convenience. The efficiency and useful life of a battery is dramatically reduced if it gets too hot or too cold, slashing the value of the vehicle and adding to a mounting environmental blight of discarded batteries.
Colder weather in particular not only shortens the car’s range – it can considerably extend charging time.
Carrar, an Israeli startup based in an industrial park in Sderot, near the border with Gaza, has developed a patented thermal management system for EV batteries, the EV powertrain and in-vehicle computers. Carrar’s immersion technology provides rapid cooling at low pressure, ensuring the components remain at a unified, stable temperature whatever the ambient conditions, whether in Alaska or Dubai.
“The cooling system used today was invented 120 years ago by Daimler – a water radiator up at the front,” says Avinoam Rubinstain, CEO of Carrar. “It was very good for cooling internal combustion engines that operate at 100 degrees centigrade and more, but modern battery technology requires the temperature to be around 25 degrees centigrade.”
“In Israel, the air temperature is often 30 degrees, and the internal temperature in the battery is 45 degrees. If that continues for a long time, battery performance is reduced by half and the lifetime of the battery is reduced even faster,” Rubinstain told the recent OurCrowd Global Investor Summit in Jerusalem.
“We are finding cars where the batteries end their life after a few years, which means that the car can no longer be used because after a few years the cost of the battery is higher than the value of the car. This is a major cost of ownership issue that needs to be resolved,” he says.
“We provide a solution that can keep the battery at the right temperature as required to make sure that you can utilize the batteries for the entire lifetime, which is above 10 years,” says Rubinstain, a serial entrepreneur whose company Atrica was acquired by Nokia Siemens Networks for a reported $100 million.
Carrar’s patented two-phase thermal management system leverages the physical phenomenon of latent heat when a liquid turns into a vapor. It dissipates heat, cooling the battery very quickly using very little energy – all within a light, low-pressure system.
Carrar’s technology adjusts heat dissipation dynamically to the external conditions, assuring a constant battery temperature regardless of charging, acceleration, or climate. The proprietary system enables ultrafast charging, in 5 minutes or less, which can not be achieved with any other cooling method.
By cooling battery cells effectively and uniformly, the system extends battery life and lowers the risk of thermal runaway and propagation – the main safety concern in electric vehicles.
Carrar works with materials that support environmental and sustainability regulations, and with every form of battery and electric vehicle.
The company is partnering with some of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturers.
“We share a vision of a greener planet with no fossil fuel emissions, where electric vehicles of all types can be used reliably anywhere in the world, including the coldest and hottest climates,” says Rubinstain. “Our aim is to facilitate greater adoption of electric vehicles.”
Gentherm, a global developer of thermal management solutions based in Northville, Michigan, was among the Seed investors in Carrar, which also include NextGear Ventures and NextLeap Ventures. A new investment round is being led by Jerusalem-based OurCrowd.
“The electric vehicle market is growing rapidly and there is a need to develop safe, fast, and reliable solutions to solve the challenges our customers are facing,” says Phil Eyler, President and CEO of Gentherm. “We see potential opportunities with Carrar’s innovation to help expand our Battery Performance Solutions portfolio with a technology that can improve EV safety, performance, and charging speed while helping accelerate EV adoption.”
For more information about Carrar’s current investment round on the OurCrowd platform, click HERE.